Los Angeles Business Journal

Demand Veterans Launch YouTube Food Network

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, March 4, 2013

Three founding members of Demand Media Inc. who left the company last year have revealed their next project.

Larry Fitzgibbon, Steven Kydd and Joe Perez announced Monday the launch of their multi-channel YouTube network, Tastemade, focused on food.

Tastemade follows a similar format to YouTube networks Machinima and Big Frame. It operates its own YouTube channel with a slate of original programming and is also affiliated with more than 100 food-related channels developing their own online content.

Tastemade received financing from YouTube in October as part of the platform’s strategy to beef up the amount of high-quality original content on its website. Now Tastemade has announced a $5.3 million round of financing led by Redpoint Ventures, which also was an early backer of Machinima.

Geoff Yang, a partner at Redpoint in Menlo Park who led the Tastemade investment, said that food attracts a lucrative demographic of middle-aged, affluent women.

“We really related to Tastemade’s vision of building a content network around food and food lifestyle,” he said. “Those groups are extremely passionate about what they do. It’s an extremely attractive demographic for advertising and commerce.”

The funding will go toward building out its network of affiliated channels and developing more original content for the Tastemade channel.

Currently, Tastemade has three original series, one for video recipes, one following a cooking show format and one that combines travel with cuisine.

For many of these shows, Tastemade works with YouTube personalities that have already gained recognition for their online food videos. For example, the cooking show is currently hosted by a group of three British friends known as Sorted Food.

“We really think these guys are something special,” said co-founder Kydd. “The Sorted guys have built a large and loyal following of people all around the globe.”

To help with the production of these original shows, Tastemade has set up its offices in a 7,000-square-foot production studio in Santa Monica that features a kitchen set.

The co-founders developed the idea for Tastemade after working as part of the founding team at Demand Media. Perez brings lifestyle experience as the co-founder of the Daily Plate, a diet and fitness community acquired by Demand to become the foundation for Livestrong.com. And Kydd brings YouTube experience as the head of Demand Studios, the company’s original content arm.

They all left Demand around the same time in February last year.

Kydd said the trio was looking to combine their interest in food with their digital media experience.

Not to mention, working at a studio producing food shows nearly every day has its perks. On Monday morning Tastemade hosted a baker who taped a segment about making fresh croissants.

“All three of us are food lovers,” Kydd said. “This is a great opportunity for us to combine our personal passions for food with a business opportunity coming from what we think is the next phase of disruption of the television business.”